Based on his most popular sermon series, New York Times best-selling author Timothy Keller delivers an extraordinarily insightful look at the keys to happiness in marriage.
Few subjects are as compelling-or as endlessly variable-as love and marriage. The Bible is filled with references to husbands and wives, from the story of Adam and Eve to advice in the New Testament, each open to interpretation.
In The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller, pastor of New York's Redeemer Presbyterian Church and bestselling author of The Reason for God, uses the scriptures as his guide to show readers what God's call to marriage is, and why this is such a powerful call. He talks in frank terms about the difficulties that couples have and how they can best work them out while keeping their faith in God intact.
The Meaning of Marriage showcases Keller's vast understanding of the Bible and how it can not only be relevant to relationships today but also form the foundation of a modern, healthy, loving, and long- lasting marriage.
©2011 Timothy Keller (P)2011 Penguin
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
My wife and I have led two newly married small groups in the last two years. And given my proclivity to over reading, and reading as one of my primary ways of processing, I have read a number of marriage books in our 15 years of marriage, especially in the last two years. Given that introduction, I think this is the most balanced, most thorough explanation of the purpose and meaning of marriage I have read.
The number one thing I like about this book is that Timothy and Kathy Keller discussion is well reasoned, biblically based, and culturally aware. The Kellers are not advocating for a throwback to some never existed culture or a blind acceptance of current cultural norms around marriage. Instead every time I felt that they started to lean one way or another, almost immediately there was a caveat that brought the discussion back in line.
I also really appreciate that Keller starts the book with a realistic portrayal of the state of marriage without being apocalyptic about the impending doom that will come on the world if we do not radically change.
Toward the end of the book there is also a very good chapter on singleness and dating, which is not often done well in marriage book. This is a book that can and should be read by singles, which is rare. The main advice that I think should be taken by singles and married is that there needs to be more intentional community between singles and married in order that singles get a realistic and open portrayal of what marriage is actually like, that marrieds can speak into the lives of singles about their dating choices (because before marriage is the time to put a stop to bad relationships) and that singles can help remind marrieds that marriage is not the only viable way for Christians to be. There is a lot more practical advice on singleness and dating, but that is primarily for those that are actually single, which I am not.
Personally there were two insights, that while not completely new, I think I heard in a different way. Both were are part of the discussion of gender roles and Ephesians 5. The first is that both husband and wife are to model Jesus to the other and both are to model after Jesus for their role. So based on Eph 5, men are supposed to look to Jesus to learn how to love their wives. And women are supposed to look to Jesus to learn how he submitted to the Father to understand what submission means in the context of the marriage. The second thought follows right after. That if the wife feels oppressed in her submission, then she is not be loved as Christ loves. And if the husband is feels like he is constantly fighting his wife, then one or both are also not acting as Jesus either. Essentially the Keller’s point isn’t that there will not be any conflict if we really are looking toward Jesus as the model in our marriage, but that a marriage that striving after following Christ will not be either avoid conflict inappropriately, nor embrace conflict inappropriately.
I am going to read this again, and I am going to seriously consider how to try and incorporate this into our newly married small group. But this is not a book only for newly marrieds. Highly recommended.
(originally published on my blog bookwi.se)
Three words? Gentle. Powerful. Truth.
I appreciate how Mr Keller uses himself as the foil in his stories, showing us that he has learned many of these lessons the hard way himself. He is not preachy or professorial, but kind and very personable.
The one chapter narrated by Marguerite Gavin is the only flaw in the book for me. Her voice seems stilted and unnatural, and I had to really lean into the content and try to ignore the voice. Mr. James' voice is much easier to listen to for long stretches. Mr. Keller has a very nice, relaxed tone himself, and I wish he might have read his own book.
The core idea in this book that helped me the most is the comparison of our submission to our mate, to Christ's submission to his Father. Nothing we can willingly defer to our spouse is as great as the gift He gave all of us in his death on the cross. We are not doormats or slaves, but loving, sacrificial gift-givers, imitating the way of Jesus. This contrasts dramatically with what our culture teaches today, namely, that marriage is all about me and my own fulfillment -- a sure recipe for frustration, pain, and failure.Mr. Keller says this all much better than I do...
I've been married for 34 years and still enjoyed this book. It was an interesting and fun listen. The Kellers are authentic and transparent in the stories they share. I especially liked "breaking the wedding china". As always, Keller dips deep into C.S. Lewis as well as a variety of other authors. I also own the print edition and enjoy the sources at the end of the book.
Similar to Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas & This Momentary Marriage by John Piper--- all 3 of these are amazing & worth reading.
I got engaged 7 months ago & I'm getting married this month... It's amazing what I thought marriage was 7 months ago. And why I thought we were getting married.
Although my parents & my fiancée parents have amazing marriages, I was fearful of marriage & mostly fearful of conflict & divorce! Our culture hates marriage & tears it down in media-- and reading this book gave me a whole new view on divorce and...the meaning of marriage, of course. This book is amazing for those who've been married for years too, but I wanted to write a review for the engaged. Those of you who haven't even begun this race, like me, this is an amazing start. Along with Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas & This Momentary Marriage by John Piper. These books will give a really clear picture of what God designed marriage to be, without any mystery. I'm thankful to be starting our marriage with wisdom and understanding thanks to The Meaning Of Marriage.
Francis Bozeman Montana
As an agnostic dating a christian, considering marriage I was suggested this book. It is hard to imagine a book more likely to turn me away from marriage.
The author initiates the book based on a niave recounting of statistics followed by arguments like marriage counselling advice changes every year yet the Bible has been the same for thousands of years and used by millions of couples so it should be the authority on marriage. If I were a christian I would probably not have a problem with that statement since all of christian faith seems to revolve around justifying why a book written thousands of years ago by many people with disjoint concepts of reality somehow has relevance in a world those people could not have even begun to imagine.
The author spends some time discussing how seeming impossible marriages between two couples have turned to lasting lifelong marriages. These mariages are all very disconcerting since the "huge" differences the couples face are those in which one party may feel inclined to wake up the day with praise and worship while his wife prefers to spend the evening in prayerful meditation. Oh God, I don't know how such a couple could ever have a hope of surviving!
I admit that I have only gotten through the first couple of hours into the book. I assume that at some point in the book the author plans on getting into something not depressing. I might update this review at that point.
I have already recommended this to 5 friends. This is a life changer. It is an excellent book that gives practical advice and reassuring views.
Very good. Easy to follow and natural.
I loved how he explained how marriage was a picture of the gospel and how God uses marriage to sanctify us. I view my marriage in a different light now.
In my opinion, this book is the best book on marriage ever written. It really brought home what it means for "a man to love his wife as Christ loves the Church"
Lloyd James and Marguerite Gavin gave very believable and convincing voices to this work by the Kellers.
It is about the marriage and not the individual in the marriage
That happiness does not come from your mate.
This is a great book for those who have been married a long time say 38 years.
I have read several books on marriage...even though I am happily married there is always room for improvement! I think this book is an excellent resource for long married, newly married, or anyone who will at some point be married. It is very practical and helps you understand what marriage is all about, not just "being in love", but actually acting out that love.
I would have preferred Timothy Keller to read it himself as the male narrator is a bit dry and mechanical, but other than that it is good stuff!
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